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I could even hear the Newcastle United alarm bells here in Singapore

5 years ago

I’m a diehard Magpie fan since 1996 living in Singapore, and even over here I could hear the alarm bells that the club refused to listen to.

All my positivity and hope has been killed by the team this week which I dreaded the most, it made me think about those alarm bells that the club refused to listen to before disaster struck.

The club has been maintained poorly since 2007 and Mike Ashley certainly did not learn from his past mistakes after the 2008/09 disastrous season. Let’s not forget that the club escaped what seemed the inevitable in 2015 by winning the final game – that only tells us that many wrongs had to be made right during the break BUT…

Alarm bell 1 – Hiring a manager who was sacked by a Championship club.

Absolutely no club that has ambition would do that. It does not even make sense in a business point of view to me! All Mike Ashley wanted was a soft character, a ‘Yes Man’.

Alarm bell 2 – Struggling to win (or perform) in pre- season friendly matches.

Many would argue that friendlies do not mean anything but it would tell the club whether the players have clicked together as a unit or not by the end of the friendlies. Moreover the games were played with teams well below the standard of EPL, except for against Borussia Monchengladbach, and if this was not an alarm to Steve and his gang, then what would be?

Alarm bell 3 – Winless in first eight games

The first eight games were against Southampton, Swansea, Man United, Arsenal, West Ham, Watford, Chelsea and Man City. I feel Southampton, Swansea and Watford were winnable games and the club failed to beat them. This streak put us straight into the relegation zone from the start and we never recovered from it.

Chelsea’s Mourinho and Liverpool’s Rodgers were not having a good time either and their clubs took immediate action but Lee Charnley still wanted to stick with Steve McClaren after such a run and the NUFC head coach came up with his, “Judge me after ten games,” nonsense.

Alarm bell 4 – Big signings failing to perform

I was excited by the prospect of Gini Wijnaldum and he has ended up the top scorer for our club but he chooses when to play. He lacks consistency – just like the club, and in certain matches he becomes a passenger.

Steve insisted on playing him every game, and Rafa took the correct decision to drop him to the bench, but it was too late. The damage was done by then. The January big signing was Jonjo Shelvey, and giving him the armband was a dubious decision when he too lacked consistency. Rafa heard this alarm and took action by dropping Shelvey to the bench which tells us why Rafa is world class and Steve is not.

Alarm bell 5 – Failing to secure a top goalkeeper and a striker

The two departments that the club lacked depth in is the attack and the defence.

Tim Krul was down and the club lacked depth immediately. No offence to Elliot and Darlow, those two did well and their saves single-handedly won us games, but a top goalkeeper could have won us games that we lost too, and it was one too many.

Cisse and Mitrovic did better under Rafa, but the club needed a clinical finisher who could give us 20 goals per season. Steve brought in Doumbia instead on loan, and it proved a failure as he barely had a few cameos. Sunderland secured Defoe (15 goals this season already) and he proved to be the difference between us and them.

Alarm bell 6 – Failing to win derbies and also against the worst team in the league

Winless in derbies is painful – a winless streak in derbies is even more heart wrenching. One team gets it,  the other team didn’t. Getting one point out of potential six against Sunderland is an alarm bell that the club is in danger this season, and this alarm has been going on for at least three years but no one in the club wanted to hear it.

Worst of all, failing to beat the worst team in the league, Aston Villa, in both games was something that eventually sealed our fate. When other teams were walloping Aston Villa, Newcastle struggled to get a point at home and away to them. They broke the losing streak of 11 games by getting a draw last weekend and how embarrassing can it get?

Reality has sunk in that my dear club will play in the Championship once again.

My hopes have been shattered one too many times by this club, but yet I have to quietly HOPE again that the club will bounce back from this and the lessons from this relegation will get through the thick skulls of Ashley and his gang.

Howay the lads.



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